The dance form known as voguing started in the late 1980s, but its roots can be traced back to Harlem’s drag ballroom competitions as early as the 1920s. Over the years, the dance form has drawn inspiration from fashion poses in Vogue magazine, pantomimes, and even gymnastics. But performance aside, voguing creates a space of empowerment for the community that created it.
The popular documentary Paris Is Burning (1990) brought voguing and the ballroom scene into mainstream pop culture. In the film, “houses” that act as surrogate families for primarily black and Latino queer folks battle against each other in various categories. Crystal LaBeija was the first ballroom queen to form a house. Today these houses have evolved, but they continue to be an integral part of the ballroom scene. Check out the video above to learn more about the origins of voguing and the houses that continue to support the culture.